« on: February 13, 2016, 11:12:23 AM »
I'm going to suggest, since this is your first all grain batch, to brew something simpler first so you can understand your system a bit better. You're going to have a good bit of money and time invested in this beer. With a beer this big, you'll want to mash at 148 for about 90 minutes. If you mash it at 156 like you're suggesting, your FG will be high and it will be like drinking roasted motor oil. 5.6 is a good mash pH. You can also assume that you're efficiency is going to be low. I can get 75% efficiency with a 1.080 beer, but it drops to about 60% at a 1.100 beer and you're looking to go higher than that. Don't sub midnight wheat in here. I'd go 60% two row, 20-25% Munich and use the other 15-20 % between crystals and roast malts. If lad suggest getting your IBUs up around 60 since this will be aged. Any yeast you suggested is good as long as you have a monster starter. 001, 007, 013, 028, or 1450 will be fine.. Or a combo of any of them. Start fermentation in the low 60s and let it ride after initial fermentation. If you're going to age on vanilla, I wouldn't oak it. I'd go with one or the other just so the taste is more easily controlled. Also have it so you can taste it and remove the vanilla when you get it where you want it.
Also, make sure your mash tun can hold the grain and water you'll need to mash. I'm assuming that you're looking at a 1.120 OG. You're going to need nearly 30 lb of grain for a 5.5 gallon batch. I just brewed a 1.100 RIS a few weeks ago. It was an 11 gallon batch. 52 lbs of grain and 16 gallons of water filled a 100 qt. cooler. I actually had to put a ratchet strap around it so the walls could support the weight.
Good luck, man. Normally, I say brew whatever you want for your first batch, because this is America! But this is a busy, complex, intimidating beer. But if you can pull it off, everything else will seem like a breeze.